iDiscover builds passion for science education in Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Aramco’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture has launched an educational program to encourage and train the youth in building passion for math and sciences.

iDiscover, one of iThra Youth initiative programs at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture will tour five cities: Hail, Jeddah, Yanbu, Jazan, and Al-Hassa, to conduct training sessions for a total of 1,000 local teachers and 2,000 students in science and math.

“iDiscover is a major educational initiative that will hopefully pave the road for further outreach programs aiming to generate passion for STEM fields among Saudi youth,” Communication and Partnership Team Leader at iThra Youth, Engineer Abdullah al-Eyaf said.

“The workshops will hopefully increase students’ learning aptitude as well as their self-confidence throughout a series of hands-on activities that magnify students’ role in the learning process” al-Eyaf added.

iDiscover in Hail:

In Hail, the program was received with excitement from participants as well as the local Hail community from Saturday, Feb. 16 to Thursday, Feb. 28 . Prince Saud bin Abdulmohsen, prince of Hail region attended the closing ceremony of iDiscover with a group of representatives from the ministry of Education.

“In iDiscover, two essential skills must be transformed to the students: the art of enjoying exploration, and persistence to reach the goal regardless of the obstacles” Motairah al-Azmi, a teacher at the ninth school in Hail and a trainer in iDiscover program said.

“In my opinion, the iDiscover experience is successful by all standards. I believe that it is so beneficial to the teachers and will create a huge shift in science and math teaching in Saudi. We hope that this program continues to benefit other regions in the kingdom” Abdulrahman al-Shammari, a science teacher in Hail and iDiscover trainer declared.

Students’ feedback in social media shows high level of energy of being part of iDiscover. “I feel like I was a seed, and iDiscover has come to irrigate me” a female student expressed passionately about her recent experience.

iDiscover: Transformational Experience

iDiscover consists of three phases, iDiscover-Master Trainers, iDiscover-Teachers, and iDiscover- Students.

iDiscover- Master Trainers, is a one-time sequence of training sessions for a total of 32 Math and Science MOE nominated teachers, whom went through an intensive, two-weeks long training sessions, by professionals from Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California and Math Zoom Academy.

“Conducting the workshops with our partners was educationally enriching to the Master trainers whom will transfer their wealth of knowledge in Science and Math to the assistant teachers and students,” Program Coordinator Najla al-Nomair Said.

The second phase, iDiscover-Teachers, is a five days training sessions during which a total of 1,000 local female and male assistant teachers will be intensively trained by the Master Trainers in each of the five cities. By the end of this phase, a selection process will be conducted to select the top 200 teachers to assist the master trainers in conducting the program. The third phase, iDiscover-Students, engages students in Science, Math, and Character Building workshops.

iDiscover- Science consists of five major tracks: iDiscover Energy, Beyond the Stars, Under the Microscope, Robotics, and Challenging Gravity. The Math tracks are: Mathmagics and Strategies, Optical illusion, Wisdom in Every Day Life, and The X-codes. In addition to science and math, enrichment tracks, such as design thinking and future leaders, are injected in iDiscover to complement the experience, and to shape well- rounded students.

“Besides focusing in science, math, and enrichment programs, iDiscover sends many direct and indirect messages through contribution and involvement in the camps such as: the spirit of team work, sustainability and environmental consciousness, prioritizing safety and safe practices, and healthy diet,” Execution and Implementation Team Leader at iThra Youth, Dhafer al-Qahtani declared.